The NCAA will allow Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams to count two wins over Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponents towards bowl eligibility for the 2020 season, ESPN has reported.
The NCAA relaxed the bowl eligibility rules for this season only due to the ongoing novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
The council approved a blanket waiver request only for the 2020-21 bowl season, which allows all FBS teams to count two games against FCS opponents that average at least 80% of the maximum amount of football scholarships during a two-year period. Previous bowl eligibility rules allowed FBS teams to count one game against an FCS opponent that averaged 90% of the maximum amount of football scholarships during the two-year span.
The adjustment will help college football teams that have suffered non-conference game cancellations due to COVID-19. To date, the Big Ten and Pac-12 have both canceled their entire slate of non-conference games, leaving their members with conference-only schedules.
The other three Power Five conferences, the ACC, Big 12, and SEC, appear set to wait until the end of July to decide whether to make adjustments to their non-conference schedules. All options are on the table and they will hinge on the trend of COVID-19 infections between now and the end of the month.
Group of Five conferences plus the Independents are also suffering the ramifications of game cancellations. If the season does move forward this fall, every schedule will likely see changes.
As far as the record requirement for bowl eligibility this season, that will not change. Nick Carparelli, executive director of the Football Bowl Association, told ESPN that a .500 record will still be the requirement for bowl eligibility even if a team plays only 10 games this season.
“In a season that’s scheduled for only 10 games, 5-5 is already bowl-eligible by NCAA rules,” Carparelli said.